Donald Trump explained that this withdrawal was due to Germany’s refusal to participate more in NATO’s military spending.

Washington is changing strategy … at least for now. The United States has decided to withdraw 11,900 troops from Germany, to reposition some of them in Belgium and Italy, Pentagon chief Mark Esper announced on Wednesday.

The Pentagon assured that the objective was strategic, in particular as a deterrent against Russia. But just minutes after the Pentagon chief’s press conference, Donald Trump explained that this withdrawal was due to Germany’s refusal to participate more in NATO’s military spending.

“We’re tired of being pigeons”, the US president told reporters from the White House. “We are reducing our forces because they are not paying. It is very simple”.

Of the 34,500 soldiers currently deployed in Germany, around 6,400 will be repatriated to the United States while the 5,600 others will be repositioned in other NATO countries, indicated Mark Esper. Around 2,000 soldiers will thus be distributed between Italy and Belgium.

Washington is also considering repositioning forces in Poland and the Baltic States, if an agreement is reached with these countries on their status, the US Defense Minister said during a press conference in Washington.

Mark Esper has indicated that the first moves could come in “a few weeks” but Donald Trump hinted that the plan could be revised: “If they started paying their bills, I would think about it.”